One of the most popular and well-trodden hikes in all of Peru, and for good reason! While this doesn’t sound like an escape you want to immerse yourself into, you can still enjoy its spoils if you don’t an early morning.
The hike is stunning, situated in the Ancash region of Peru, close to the city of Huaraz. The hike takes around 5 hours return and is super popular among backpackers. The lake sits 4500m above sea level, and the hike rewards you with beautiful azure waters and a stunning backdrop of towering snowy peaks.
Let’s discover everything you need to know for Hiking Laguna 69, from how to get there, where to stay, and what you need to hike this fantastic trail.
Table of Contents
How To Get To Laguna 69?
The two main places to get to Laguna 69 are Trujillo from the North and Lima from the south. The main bus stations in these cities provide services to Huaraz, which is where you want to head for any trip to Laguna 69.
From Trujillo, take the Linea bus direct to Huaraz, which takes between 10 and 12 hours. There are other services, which you can check out here. Something to note is the Linea bus is one of the only daytime services I’ve been on in Peru that barely stopped, so make sure you bring snacks, water, and coffee.
From Lima, the bus journey to Huaraz is between 8 and 10 hours, which you can do on a night bus and double up on savings on your transport and accommodation. Check out the bus services from Lima to Huaraz here.
Where To Stay For The Laguna 69 Hike?
Being the largest and only city in the area, there are plenty of places to stay for all budgets; from comfortable, private rooms with hot water and solid wifi to budget backpacker options, you’ll find it in Huaraz.
There’s a Selina in Huaraz; always a safe bet for a decent hostel, good wifi, and a hot shower. Otherwise, discover more accommodation here.
There is only a handful of accommodation options in Yungay as it is a significantly smaller town. I stayed at an awesome spot named Tulppa Rumy. Although it’s a bit of a mission to get to (40 mins outside of Yungay toward the start of the Laguna hike), the place is peaceful, has an epic backdrop, and the owner, Jesus, was super friendly and attentive.
Best Time Of Year To Hike?
There is no best time of year to hike Laguna 69, as the region can be pleasant all year round. For example, all the photos you see in this article were taken from my hike at the end of August 2022.
Due to the altitude, the climate can change, and the weather on the Laguna 69 hike can be unpredictable and change rapidly, so it’s best to prepare for all weather, no matter what time of year.
The History Of Laguna 69?
The lake is part of the Huascaran national park. A UNESCO world heritage site since 1985. Because of the national park status, all the lakes needed to be named and recorded throughout, and while some were named, some were just numbered, and who doesn’t love the number 69?
Laguna 69 has been popular among travelers for decades, and considering how beautiful the lake and national park are, is unsurprising.
Things To Know Before You Hike
Even for the fittest and most experienced hikers, the altitude can be an issue while hiking Lagna 69. Although I’m relatively fit and had just spent the past two weeks surfing in Chicama, I could feel the altitude toward the top and had to stop every 20 meters to catch my breath.
Staying Outside Of Huaraz
Anywhere outside of Huaraz is rural and more difficult to get to. There are a handful of accommodations in Yungay; a 1-hour Collectivo ride from Huaraz, or you can stay 40 mins toward the beginning of the hike at Tullpy Rumy.
Although Tullpy was awesome, it was a hassle to get to; the Collectivo from Huaraz to Yungay, then a taxi to the accommodation. However, this extra effort meant I could be up early and at the lake before anyone else the following day. From Tullpy, you can get a 30 min taxi to the start of the hike.
Logistically, it’s easier to stay in Huaraz, get a collective to Yungay, then a taxi to the start of the hike., or easier still, via a tour including all the transport. (It actually works out cheaper to do it this way) However, you’re then limited to specific times and sharing the lake with lots of other people.
National Park Entry Fee
There is a 30sol fee ($8usd) to enter the national park, and you need to pay this in cash. Because I started walking at 6 am, there was no one there, so I didn’t end up paying.
If you’re planning on staying closer to Yungay and starting the hike early, it is bloody freezing in the morning. When I started my hike at my accommodation Tullpa Rumy, the air was 4 degrees celsius!
Laguna 69 - To Tour Or Not To Tour?
This is the biggest question you need to answer when hiking laguna 69, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Although it seems counter-intuitive, it’s cheaper to book a tour and have all the transport included. But you’re then with a large group, limited to specific times, and will have to match others’ hiking pace.
If like me, you prefer independent hiking, the hike is straightforward and is one single path 5kms long that takes you directly to the lake. You’d have to have serious internal navigation issues to get lost here.
The downside to hiking Laguna 69 solo is you’ll have to make your own way to the lake, either by Collectivo and taxi from Huaraz or Yungay. Because of the time it’d take you to do this; you won’t beat the crowds hiking independently from Huaraz.
Staying in Yungay, take a taxi to the start of the hike first thing in the morning and be there before anyone. I arranged my taxi through my host Jesus at Tullpy, and I arrived at the trail around 6.15 and was up at the lake around 8.30 am.
What To Take On The Laguna 69 Hike?
Laguna 69 Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Is Laguna 69?
The Laguna 69 hike is just over 5km, typically taking 3 hours to hike up and 2 hours to descend. However, this depends on your fitness and motivation. I got up there in around 1.5-2 hours and returned in 1h20.
How Do I Get To Laguna 69?
Head to Huaraz and book a tour or make your way to the start of the Laguna 69 trail via Collectivo and taxi. Otherwise, stay in Yungay and take a taxi in the morning.
How To Get From Huaraz to Laguna 69?
You can get to Laguna 69 via a tour or Collectivo bus, then a taxi via Yungay. Yungay is around a 1-hour drive, then to the trailhead is another 1 hour by taxi. This is why tours often work out cheaper than visiting independently.
Can You Camp Laguna 69?
There is a campsite just outside the national park where you can camp. Camping is not allowed in the national park itself, but being so vast, if you’re an experienced camper/hiker, you’d have no trouble camping close to the lake or along the trail.
Can You Swim At Laguna 69?
At the lake, there is a sign stating no swimming allowed, and I’m not sure if tour guides allow swimming. Because I was the only one there and it was 8 am, I did swim. And by swim, I mean I jumped in for 10 seconds and got straight back out! It’s freezing, and I had to wrap myself in a blanket and focus on my breathing for ten minutes afterward.
Hiking Laguna 69 - Summary
Undoubtedly, the Laguna 69 hike is stunning, and hiking it solo is even more rewarding.
If you’re willing to get up early and do the mission of staying in Yungay, you’ll have the lake to yourself. And yes, it’s absolutely incredible.
With a tour, you’ll spend less money and meet some cool people to share the experience with, but you’re confined to set times and sharing the lake with others. So it is up to you.
For me, hiking laguna 69 solo was an incredible experience, and although it was a hassle and more costly, the solo time at the top of the lake under the bright blue morning sky was truly unbeatable and something I won’t forget anytime soon.
I hope this article has shed some light on what you need to know when hiking Laguna 69, and I would strongly encourage you to do it, whether on a tour or solo. You won’t regret it.
Resources For Hiking Laguna 69
Here is a list of useful resources you can use to make your Laguna 69 hiking trip happen.
Flights To Peru: https://blog.danharmon.io/recommends/wayaway-flights/
Buses To Huaraz: https://blog.danharmon.io/recommends/bus-bud/
Accommodation Near Huaraz: https://blog.danharmon.io/recommends/hostelworld-2/
Laguna 69 Tours: https://blog.danharmon.io/recommends/viator/
Rental Cars In Peru: https://blog.danharmon.io/recommends/rental-cars/
Insurance For Peru: https://blog.danharmon.io/recommends/world-nomads-insurance/
Water Bottle/Flask: https://blog.danharmon.io/recommends/hydro-flask/